Assisted Reproductive Technology

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What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

Answer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assisted reproductive technology (ART) is defined as fertility treatments that must handle both the woman's eggs and the man's sperm. In addition, assistive reproductive technology does not stimulate egg production without the intention of removing eggs from the ovaries. There are many possible treatments for infertility including fertility medications, surgery, and assisted reproductive technology. Infertility is described as the inability to conceive a baby within one year of trying but infertility does not necessarily mean that conceiving a child is impossible.

ART treatments

ART is actually a variety of treatments designed to help couples conceive. The doctor chooses the treatment based on the specific needs of the couple. Assisted reproductive technology is often used after other treatments have failed because it requires a highly educated, specialized medical team in addition to expensive equipment. Only you and your doctor can determine what the best treatment is for you. Some of the most common ART procedures include:

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) - The eggs are surgically removed and mixed with sperm in a laboratory dish. Fertilization typically takes place within a few days. The fertilized eggs are then placed in a woman's uterus where they continue to develop.

Gamete Intrafallopian Tubal Transfer (GIFT) - A mixture of sperm and eggs surgically removed from the woman is placed into a woman's fallopian tubes.

Zygote Intrafallopian Tubal Transfer (ZIFT) - The eggs are surgically removed, fertilized with sperm in a laboratory dish, and then placed into a woman's fallopian tubes 24 hours after fertilization.

Tubal Embryo Transfer (TET)- TET resembles ZIFT, except the embryos are allowed to develop longer before being placed into a woman's fallopian tubes.

Third Party Reproduction - In some cases, a couple may not have viable eggs or sperm, or the woman may not be able to carry a baby to term. Third party reproduction includes a third person who donates eggs or sperm, or in the case of surrogacy, a surrogate donates the use of her uterus. The third party's responsibility does not extend to raising the child.

Assisted reproduction success rate

The success of ART depends on the couples' age, cause of infertility, type of assisted reproduction, the clinic and staff, and whether the eggs/embryos used are fresh or frozen. According to a 2005 report on ART by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1% of U.S. infants born in 2003 were conceived through ART.

Read an In-Depth Report on infertility in women in our Health Encyclopedia.

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